Latest in Gear

Image credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dropbox's Mac app is now clearer about what it can access

The macOS Sierra update gives users more control over app permissions.
558 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After concerns were raised over how its app had gained elevated privileges on users' Macs, Dropbox moved quickly to put people's minds at rest. Desktop developer Ben Newhouse acknowledged that some design decisions made it look like it was circumventing Apple's built-in protections, but now that the new macOS Sierra update is available, Dropbox access requests are becoming a lot clearer.

The Dropbox Mac app will explicitly ask Sierra users for permission to access Accessibility, the macOS feature that allows the cloud backup tool to integrate with Microsoft Office, improve file syncing and perform automatic app updates. Apple has updated its protections around Accessibility and Dropbox is using it to better explain why it needs extended access once it has been installed.

Currently, the new permissions are only available in the macOS Sierra app. However, Dropbox told Venturebeat that Mac OS X users will see similar changes in the coming weeks. "We realize this isn't a great experience," the company says on its support page. "We're actively working to make this better."

While it's generally understood that Dropbox requires deep hooks integrate its collaboration features on Apple machines, the old implementation wasn't clear about what it was doing. An unofficial dialog would pop up telling users the app needed their password "to work properly," when it was actually whitelisting itself in the Accessibility settings in an undocumented way.

Users were worried that Dropbox would be able to wipe their administrator passwords and open the door to malware. The company insists that's not the case and hopes that the new permissions and updated documentation clear up what the app will and won't do once it is installed.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
558 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
Fitbit is reportedly in the early stages of exploring a sale

Fitbit is reportedly in the early stages of exploring a sale

View
Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

View
Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

View
Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr